The Plight of the Air Nomads
Rated: Mature for LOTS of violence, character death, and Kataang
Summary: Aang is haunted by what happened to his people, a feeling of helplessness that manifests itself in the worst of ways. Serious Aangst.
Disclaimer: I don't own "Avatar: The Last Airbender" or any of its characters, no matter how much I would like… (Imagines having older Aang, older Sokka, and older Zuko as love slaves and drools).
LES: I love Aang so flippin much! So I can't understand why I can never make him happy. Why must I torture the people I love?!?
Muse: I think I discovered another reason for you never to get a boyfriend.
LES: (clears throat) Anyway, this story was inspired by a few things: accounts of raids in early human history were taking prisoners was not an option, and torture, murder, and rape were common-place. Also inspired by an observation made by another author: if Air Nomads don't kill, then why was Gyatso's skeleton surrounded by the remains of Fire Nation soldiers? The Air Nomads obviously faced terrors so horrific that it forced them to fight back against the invaders. Also, the fact that people drunk on power (Firebenders powered up by Sozin's Comet) will commit unspeakable crimes that they would normally never dream of doing. Also, by the show "Ghost Adventures". It gets quite graphic. You have been warned. One-shot. Takes place three years after Sozin's Comet. Aang is sixteen and all ages go from there.
It was a calm summer afternoon at the Northern Air Temple. Aang breathed in a deep sigh of relief. The last time he had seen the Air Temple four years ago, the place had nearly been destroyed. But, now, it was almost completely restored to its former glory, the way he remembered it from his childhood.
Yes, it did hurt Aang's heart to see Earth Kingdom banners flying from the ramparts instead of the Air Nomad banner, and to see Earth Kingdom citizens walking the Temple's halls rather than the usual monks, but Aang had long accepted the reality of his situation and their situation. He couldn't ask them to leave. They were now the citizens of the Temple, and he was at least glad to see people benefiting from the remains of his culture, even if it was making a home out of an empty temple.
He had been called to the Temple by Teo and his family, apparently on some spiritual business. Acting as an ambassador between the physical world and the spiritual world was, perhaps, Aang's most important duty as the Avatar. One didn't have to be the Avatar to be a diplomat between the nations. His friends, great ambassadors and diplomats in their own right, had proven that. But Aang was the only person in the world able to walk both the physical world and the Spirit World freely.
It was possible for others to cross over into the Spirit World, but there was always a price to pay. Aang knew that his good friend, Iroh, the Dragon of the West, had once journeyed to the Spirit world. Aang had never asked him what he had given up, but he talked about his trip to the Spirit world with such sadness that Aang had never questioned him.
Aang was the only one who could cross back and forth without loss, so he never hesitated in performing these spiritual duties.
As Aang entered, the Mechanist looked over from his work restoring a tile mosaic on the Temple's wall, and waved to him. "Avatar Aang, it is good to see you again!" He walked over to the young Avatar. "And, wow! You've certainly grown since I last saw you at thirteen years old!"
Aang blushed slightly. He was sixteen years old now, and was considerably taller now than he was as a child. His friends never ceased teasing him about his 'explosive' growth. He was now taller than almost everyone in the old Gang, excluding Zuko. And Aang was still growing and catching up to Zuko in height. It seemed that when he hit his first growth spurt when he was thirteen, his body decided to make up for his naturally slight build by making him exceptionally tall.
"Thanks." Aang responded. "But I wasn't going to stay thirteen years old forever."
"Of course." The Mechanist agreed. "I'm sure that Waterbending girl agrees. You two are still dating, right? I heard you went to the anniversary of Sozin's comet at the Earth King's palace together."
Aang smiled. "Yes, Katara and I are still dating." The entire Gang had found themselves incredibly lucky in the field of romance. Aang had been dating the love of his life, Katara of the Southern Water Tribe, for three years now and was just as much in love with her now as he always was and, even more incredible, she returned his love and more! Zuko and Mai had gotten married in the aftermath of the war, and Aang had overheard one day that they were trying for their first baby. Though there was no official news of a new Prince or Princess being born. Sokka and Suki had also gotten married last year, and she was a few months pregnant with their first child. And Toph, she had a boyfriend now. Aang had only met him a few times, but he seemed willing to bend over backwards for her. Toph was happy with him, and Aang approved of the match. "So, you said that there's been some Spiritual trouble around here?" Aang asked. "If you don't mind, I'd like to take care of that right away. The Summer Solstice is coming in a few weeks, and any problems will only grow worse as it draws closer."
"Of course, Avatar Aang." The Mechanist said. "Every year, around this time, we start to have more… activity, if that is what you want to call it."
"Does it increase because of the solstice?" Aang asked.
"I don't believe so, or we would see an increase during the Winter Solstice, but we don't." The Mechanist said.
During a pause in the Mechanist's words, a quiet, scream came from down the hallway. Both Aang and the Mechanist looked around, and saw nothing there. A disembodied scream.
"I see what you mean." Aang said. "I don't think this is the work of a Spirit. What we are dealing with here are the spirits of the dead."
"Ghosts?" The mechanist clarified.
"Exactly." Aang said. "You shouldn't be concerned. Most ghosts can't and won't harm the living. They simply… exist."
"These ghosts don't harm, but they do frighten." The Mechanist said. "Several of our children can't sleep because they are haunted by figures in their room, whispering to them. Some have even been touched."
"Yes, the ghosts pull on their sheets, clothes, and arms, asking them for help. It's always the same thing. 'Help us. Help us'."
"That makes sense." Aang said. "Most ghosts are the spirits of those who, for some reason, are unable to move on… probably because of a traumatic event…"
"Will you help us?" The mechanist asked, and his question was echoed by another disembodied voice.
"Yes." Aang said, answering both. "Especially since there are children involved. An adult can understand that there is nothing to fear, but children are much more impressionable. If they are afraid, I will help them."
Aang sat on the ground in the middle of the room in classic meditative lotus position, and let himself sink into the nonexistence of the Spirit World.
The feeling of entering the Spirit World, no matter how many times he did it, was strange and jarring. It felt like he was dying, but the key was to remain calm and let the feeling take him away. For several horrifying moments, he couldn't breathe and he couldn't feel his heart beating in his chest, and then it was over. He was in the Spirit world, and he could feel that he was alive.
He let out a nonexistent breath of relief. And glanced around at his surroundings. Since the solstice was approaching, the Spirit world strongly resembled the environment that he had just left. He was still in the same room at the Northern Air Temple. The only difference was that everything looked so much newer… or would that be older? He was seeing the Temple as it looked when the monks still maintained it, how he remembered the Temple. Only… he was still alone.
Aang stood up and walked away from his body, walking down the hallway. "Hello?" He called. "Is anyone here? I haven't come here to hurt you. I've only come to help."
Disembodied voices echoed around him.
He can't help us.
He had his chance.
Aang ignored the voices. "What happened? Why can't you move on?"
Another voice spoke behind him. We can't move on because you can't move on.
Aang turned around and saw a young boy standing in a dark hallway, staring at him. He could tell from the boy's clothes that he was a young Airbending novice. He was only about ten years old.
Aang moved closer to the boy, kneeling down. "Hello. I'm not going to hurt you. Do you know me?"
The boy spoke without his lips moving. You are the Avatar.
"That's right. I want to help you."
You can't help. The boy's voice spoke. If you wanted to help us, you would have stayed by your people's side rather than running.
Coward! A different voice yelled.
Suddenly, the Temple changed. It was unlike the Temple Aang remembered. The room was still the same, but now the entire place was drenched in blood. Aang gazed around in horror. He technically didn't have a stomach anymore, but he felt like he was going to be sick. The still warm bodies of both Air Nomads and Fire Nation soldiers filled the room. The boy was still there, covered in blood too. His skin began to blister and burn right before Aang's eyes. You ran away. You never cared.
"Of course I cared!" Aang said. "I ran away because… because…" But Aang couldn't say it. He knew why he had run away. It was a childish, cowardly reason.
Suddenly, the child yelled in anger, rushing at Aang with his fist raised. Aang flinched as he felt the child come in contact with his body. Of course, the child couldn't hit him because he no longer had a physical body, but he could feel the force of the child hitting him anyway; it was like getting hit with a wall of emotion: anger, hate, but most of all, sadness.
So much sadness. Aang almost started crying on the spot.
He heard the child's voice inside his head. Soon, you will know…
With a start, he jolted out of the Spirit World. He came too so suddenly that he forgot that there would be a few seconds where he couldn't breathe and his heart would skip several beats. He tried to take a deep breath, but his frozen lungs exploded in pain, causing him to cry out as soon as he was able to breathe again. He fell forward against the floor, clutching his chest.
"Avatar Aang!" The Mechanist cried, horrified. He had watched the Avatar as he entered the Spirit World. He had only been gone for a few minutes before he had returned, obviously in pain. He rushed forward and helped the young Avatar off the ground. "Are you all right? Should I call a healer?"
"No… no…" Aang gasped. "Katara can look at me later." With the Mechanist's aid he was able to push himself off the ground and onto his feet.
"Were you able to talk to the Spirits?" The Mechanist asked.
"I did, but they wouldn't listen to me." Aang said. "But I can tell you who is here. The Air Nomads who once lived here."
"Well, I suppose that's not surprising…"
"It is surprising!" Aang said. "All the monks here had achieved Spiritual Enlightenment, so they should have moved on after their deaths. But they haven't! Instead, they are stuck here in a bloody temple! WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?!?" He yelled into the Temple.
Disembodied voices answered him.
Because Aang had not finished his task, he offered to stay another day and try again the next day. Together, they went to get Katara, Sokka, Suki, and Toph where they were waiting outside and the Mechanist began to lead them to their rooms.
Everyone was rather unnerved by the voices that followed them, especially Toph and Katara. Toph wasn't used to hearing a voice come from nowhere, so it disturbed her greatly to hear a voice coming from a spot when she knew nothing was there to make that noise.
Katara was nervous too. She could feel the unseen eyes watching her, and even once or twice felt them touch her. At first, she thought it was Aang, but one of his hands was holding hers, and the other was on her shoulder. It was impossible for him to have touched her.
"Aang…" She whispered. "I can feel them watching me."
"There's nothing to be afraid of, love." Aang whispered back. "They are angry at me, not you. They are trying to scare you to get at me. They will watch and touch you, but they won't harm you, I promise."
Sokka jumped and thrust his sword in the direction of the voice, but there was nothing there. Just as quickly, the sword was knocked out of his hand by an unseen force, and Sokka screamed.
Everyone stared at him.
"Okay… I'll be the first to say it… that was extremely creepy." Sokka said.
"Don't draw your weapons." Aang said. "Something terrible happened here, and seeing any sort of weapons might make the ghosts upset."
"Oh, sure. I definitely wouldn't want to make them upset after they are calling us cowards!"
"It's me they are calling a coward." Aang said.
Finally, the Mechanist stopped. "This wing here is all yours." He said, showing them a hallway with several bedrooms leading off it. "Arrange yourselves however you want."
Katara blushed. Normally, their hosts would arrange them so that Sokka and Suki shared a room, while she, Aang, and Toph had separate rooms, being unmarried. But the Mechanist obviously had no problem with Katara sleeping in Aang's room.
It was getting late, so they thanked the Mechanist and headed into their rooms: Sokka and Suki in one room, Toph by herself in another, and Katara following Aang into his chosen room.
That night, Aang tried to make love to Katara, but she refused.
"Why?" He asked, running his tongue against her throat.
Katara released a small moan and then pushed him away. "No, Aang. I can still feel them watching me. I don't feel like making love while people are watching." She stared at him. "What's the matter with you tonight? You're acting awfully strangely."
Aang stared at her. "What are you talking about? I've always been this way."
"No." Katara said, pushing him away. "You've never been the one to initiate our lovemaking. It's always been me, so why the sudden change tonight?"
"Is it such a shock that I want you?" Aang asked.
Katara stared at him. And then rolled over in the bed, her back to him. It was a clear sign. 'Not happening tonight.' "Goodnight, Aang."
Aang sighed, and tried to settle down. Eventually, he was able to fall asleep.
Once again, Aang found himself at the Northern Air Temple. He was a child again. Unburdened by the stress of being the Avatar and unburdened by the war. All he could see was the beauty around him. Monks, nuns, novices, bison, and lemurs filled the cloisters and the skies.
Aang felt tears of happiness form in his eyes. This is where I belong.
Then why did you run?
Aang gasped in horror and turned around to find the boy he spoke to early staring at him.
Watch. The boy said. Watch and see what you did.
Suddenly, the scene changed. The sky blazed red, and the Air Nomads gazed up in wonder. Of course, they knew it was a comet, the same comet that returned every hundred years. What they didn't know was that this was the last time their culture would ever see it.
It happened so quickly. Aang didn't see them come. No one knew how the Fire Nation got to the Air Temple, but that didn't matter. Suddenly, there were soldiers there.
The Head of the Order rushed at the soldiers. "What is the meaning of this?!?" He demanded. "How dare you bring soldiers on our sacred…?" He never finished his sentence. A ruthless Firebender shot fire at him, and the old monk was engulfed in flames.
The Air Nomads who witnessed the incident couldn't believe their eyes! Disagreements and even wars were not too uncommon between the nations during the 'between times' between the Avatar's death and the next Avatar's coming of age, but this was different!
The Air Nomads had always gotten along fine with the Fire Nation. It was really the Earth Kingdom that they had political trouble with, so they never expected an unprovoked attack from the Fire Nation… especially an unprovoked attack like this!
Before the Air Nomads could react, the enemy Firebenders shot massive bursts of fire at them. Some were killed instantly, charred black, while others tried to protect themselves and others with Airbending. However, a normal Airbender was no match for the powered-up might of the Firebenders. Their defenses did little more than slow down the deadly attacks before they were engulfed in flames.
Aang found that all he could do was stand and stare in horror, like his body was frozen. But, thankfully, the Air Nomads didn't suffer from such paralysis. They realized that there was no hope in defending themselves, so they tried to retreat.
They didn't see the Firebenders that had circled around behind them.
The Firebenders moved with ruthless efficiency. And they were obviously trained to attack Airbenders. Aang had fought many Firebenders in the war, and none of them had been able to really get the jump on him. An Airbender's strength in battle was that they never let themselves become cornered.
These Firebenders had managed to corner the Airbenders, giving them no method of escape.
A few managed to take to the sky on gliders or their bison, but they were immediately shot down by Firebenders. Sky Bison screamed in agony as they plummeted to the bottom of the mountain in a deadly freefall. If the fire engulfing them didn't kill them, the fall would.
Aang screamed in agony as he watched his people be systematically wiped out by the aggressive Fire Nation. But it only got worse.
The scene changed. He was inside the Temple, and saw a single Air Nomad woman sheltering a large group of children, all too young to be real Airbenders.
"Stay quiet!" She urged silently. She wasn't a nun, or a Master, so Aang assumed one of the children was hers. She herded the children behind her and bravely faced the door.
The soldiers moved around outside, and then the door burst open. The soldier in charge of the small group outside grinned at the sight he saw inside.
"What do we have here? An Air Nomad whore protecting a bunch of little brats?"
"Stay back!" The woman said, taking a fighting stance. But Aang knew, and she knew, that she was at a serious disadvantage here. Aang could tell by the way she kept glancing back at the children.
The soldier laughed. "Give up. You know you are at a disadvantage. Once an Airbender starts moving in battle, they are nearly impossible to get a hold of them. However, all that movement also makes it damn near impossible to protect other people. So, what will it be? You? Or the children?"
Tears ran down her eyes. "Don't speak to me about mercy! You haven't come here to show mercy, you pig! You came to kill us all!" With that, she attacked.
However, before she could finish her form, they sent a blast of fire at her side. It hurt, but it wouldn't kill her. She screamed in pain and fell to the ground, holding her side.
The children tried to run, but they were caught up in the next fire blast. It was over in an instant. They were now nothing but ash.
The woman screamed in agony; not from her wound, but from emotional pain. Before she could push herself off the floor, the Fire Nation soldiers were on her, binding her arms and ankles together, and cruelly shoving a spare rag in her mouth to gag her.
This proved to Aang even more that they came prepared to fight Airbenders. The modern Benders that Aang had fought had never known to gag him to take away his Airbending. These soldiers did this without hesitation.
"So, you choose to save yourself, then?" The soldier spoke. "Well, then, your wish shall be granted. But I can promise you that you'll wish you'd chosen death before I'm through with you, Temple whore." He began to untie his belt.
The woman screamed through her gag as the others forced her down on the floor and began to pull her robes out of the way.
Aang couldn't take it anymore. He couldn't simply stand by and let this poor woman who was just trying to defend a defenseless group of children be raped! With an angry yell, he dove at the Fire Nation soldier, trying to knock him away. But Aang fell right through. This was nothing more than a memory. He couldn't affect it. He could only watch as the horrors unfolded.
The man exposed himself for the terrible deed as the woman continued to struggle in vain against her captors. However, before the act could be carried out, something that Aang never expected to occur happened.
A sharp blast of air tore through the room, slicing through many of the men, and also killing the woman in the process, slicing her throat. She, and the ones who were hit, died almost instantly.
Aang spun around in shock and saw an Air Nomad monk standing in the hall, his hand held out, leaving no question as to who had bent that air. He stood frozen in the doorway, staring in horror at what he had done. Aang could see the despair on his face, but Aang could also understand why he had done it.
There are truly things worse than death.
The monk had saved the woman from getting raped the only way he could, by killing her.
Thankfully, to the Firebenders, rape was about taking away the woman's control, so they had no interest in her now that she was dead. Instead, they turned on the monk, who seemed unable to move from the spot where he had committed the greatest crime of his life.
He sank to his knees, uttering a prayer for forgiveness as the Firebenders converged on him.
Seeing all the pain on the monk's face, and witnessing crimes so great that it would lead even an Air Nomad monk to kill, sparked Aang's rage. He had never felt so angry in his life. He suddenly remembered…
I am not helpless! I am the Avatar! A fully-realized Avatar! I can help!
This Sozin's comet was just a memory, but Aang had felt the power bestowed by the comet once before, and could fill himself with that power once again, supplemented by his Avatar powers. Flames began to lick at his body, and with a roar, he rushed at the Fire Nation attackers…
It was the middle of the night, but the lack of a warm body next to her woke her up. Or maybe it was that feeling of being watched. Whatever it was, she noticed that Aang was no longer in the bed, and she sat up, looking around the room.
Katara saw him at the window, staring out into the night. She rubbed her eyes. "Aang? What are you doing, it's the middle of the night. Come back to bed." She called.
At the sound of her voice, Aang looked around at her, but Katara could tell that something was wrong. His eyes were open, and he was looking right at her, but there was no recognition in his eyes. Also, there was his expression, a terrible expression of pain and rage that she had never seen on his face before.
She was awake instantly, jumping out of the bed. "Aang? What's wrong?" She asked.
She gasped, horrified, as fire began to radiate from his body, licking at his clothes without burning them or the skin beneath. He brought his hand up, conjured a bright flame, and rushed at her with a yell of "Get out!"
Katara managed to dodge his attack by ducking under the flames, but he whirled around, sending an arc of flames after her. She quickly gathered what water she could from the air and used it to extinguish the flames. It was only the fact that it was the Full Moon that allowed her to gather water quickly enough to combat the flames shot at her by her lover.
"Aang! What's going on?!?" Katara cried at him.
Aang panted, causing the flames around his body to flare up. He spoke, but he didn't answer her question. It was like he couldn't hear her voice. "I won't let you hurt them anymore! Die!" He sent another blast of flames at her, and she managed to escape through the door.
"Sokka! Toph!" Katara screamed, hoping that they would hear her.
Sokka and Toph rushed out of their rooms. "What's with all the noise?" Sokka asked.
"What? Did your sex-capades get a little out of hand, Sugar Queen?" Toph asked, unconcerned.
"WHAT?" Sokka began, rounding on Katara.
"No, no!" Katara yelled. "Aang… he's lost his mind! Out of nowhere, he started attacking me!"
They heard Aang inside the room. "That's right, run you cowards! Know how they felt before you killed them!" The door burst into flames and the raging Avatar stepped through the flames.
"What the…" Toph began. "Katara, he's still asleep!"
"What?" Sokka demanded. "But he's walking, talking, and ATTACKING us!" Sokka yelled as Aang lit up the hallway with fire.
"I know how sleep feels!" Toph responded. "He's heart rate's up, but other than that, he's completely asleep!"
"Sleepwalking!" Katara gasped, she used more water to extinguish some more flames, giving them an escape route. "Hurry and run! This place is too confined to subdue him! If we fight Aang here, we could destroy the whole Temple!"
As one, they rushed away, heading for the outside.
Aang frowned as he watched them run. Fire Nation soldiers. They were running. But he wouldn't let them escape. They had attacked his home, and they would pay the price!
He summoned all the power of the Avatar State and followed them, the flames unaffecting him as he stepped through them.
They were outside, and they turned to face Aang, who was right behind him. Katara could tell, just from the flow of Chi around his body, that he was channeling the power of the Avatar State. His eyes and tattoos were not glowing, but that was because he had learned to focus the Avatar State.
And the focused Avatar State was much more deadly than the wild and unfocused one.
"This isn't good. He's using the power of the Avatar State." Katara said.
Sokka groaned. "Damnit… why do we have to fight the all-powerful Avatar now? He's on our side for Spirit's sakes!"
Aang spoke to them… but it wasn't to them at the same time. "You came to this Temple… you killed my people… now… I'll kill you!" He leapt at them, sending a massive wave of rocks at the group.
It took all of Toph's concentration to overcome Aang's hold on the rocks and Bend them safely aside. But the battle of wills that should have proven to him that he was fighting an Earthbender, not a Firebender, did not register in his enraged mind.
He spread out his hands to the side, and caused a wall of earth to come at them from both sides to smash them. Thankfully, Sokka saw it coming and managed to pull himself and the two girls out of the way in time.
Aang roared in rage and stomped, causing an earthquake to rock the Temple. Some parts of it collapsed, but he couldn't see that, nor did he care. Everyone was dead in there. He was the only Airbender left. He had to avenge his people. That was all that mattered.
Toph managed to stop the earthquake, but not before parts of the Temple were destroyed. "We have to stop this now!" She screamed. "He's going to kill somebody!"
Left with no other choice, Katara let out a sob and held her hand out towards Aang. She had sworn to never perform this technique again, but it was the only way she knew to keep him from moving. She could feel it, the blood flowing through his veins, and she clenched her fingers, causing the blood to forcefully stop in his body, stopping his movements.
Immediately, the battle of wills began as Aang fought to break free from her Bloodbending grip. Katara gritted her teeth. Aang was immensely strong… and she didn't think she could hold out for more than a few seconds against his might.
"Quick! Wake him up!" Katara cried out.
Sokka didn't question her. He rushed up to the enraged Avatar and punched him right in the face. Okay, so he could have slapped him, but after being attacked, Sokka wasn't feeling in the mood to be nice.
Aang cried out in shock, and gazed at them as soon as he recovered. Katara was extremely relieved to see the recognition in his eyes. She released her grip on him and he fell to the ground.
As soon as he hit the ground, Katara rushed over to him and pulled him into an embrace. "Aang… Oh, Aang!" She gasped, tears falling down her face as she held him.
"Kat—Katara?" Aang groaned. "What happened?"
"You… you had some kind of nightmare!" Katara explained breathlessly. "I don't know what happened, but you attacked us in your sleep. You were… so angry… you kept yelling about how you were going to kill us!"
"I… it was a nightmare about the day the Fire Nation attacked the Temples." Aang explained. "It was so horrible… so real… it…" He eyes fell on the ruined state of the Temple. He saw people extracting themselves from the rubble. "Did I… do this?" He asked, shocked.
"You were in the Avatar State." Katara said. "I had to… use Bloodbending on you to stop you, and Sokka woke you up."
Suddenly, Aang pushed her away and stood up, moving shakingly over to the gathering crowd. "Is anyone hurt? Is anyone missing?!?" He yelled, terror in his voice.
"Avatar Aang…" A small, weak voice spoke up. Aang spun around. It was the Mechanist. Unrestrained tears ran down his face and in his hands… Aang's heart stopped.
In his hands was the bloody remains of Teo's wheelchair.
The Temple mourned that night for the death of their bright young Teo. However, two people mourned more than any other. Teo's father was one of those people. His tears ran unrestrained and his pulled his hair out in grief. No one could consol him.
For several long hours, Aang was beyond help. The only thing that he could think was that he was responsible for Teo's death, as surely as if he struck him down with his own hands. The young man had been caught in Aang's earthquake and had been unable to escape in time.
Aang had gone through an entire war without taking a life. And, now, in a fit a madness, a young life had been snuffed out, and it was all his fault.
It didn't matter how much Katara told him that he was just reacting violently to a terrible nightmare, how it wasn't his responsibility. The fact remained; Teo was dead because of him. Nothing could change that, and nothing could bring him back.
He found himself collapsed on the floor in the Temple's sanctuary, wishing with all his heart that he could cry, but finding that he could not. His disgust in himself outweighed his sorrow.
Can you help us? A disembodied voice asked.
Aang looked up and saw the same boy standing before him.
Are you a coward?
Will you run?
Will you stand and fight?
Do you understand?
Voices echoed all around him, and Aang stood up.
"I understand." He said, holding out his hands. "My hands are stained with blood now, just as yours was. It's not the fact that you died that holds you here… it's the fact that you were driven to kill." Aang stared up into the boy's sad eyes. "Those were your memories."
A collection of memories. The boy said. To show you. I tried to fight, but I was not strong enough. They burned me. I killed before I died. We all did. Those who did not passed on, but we remain here, tormented by our memories. Tormented by death.
Can you help us?
Aang sighed. "I understand your plight. But I can't help you." Aang said, bowing his head. "I am lost."
The voices faded.
For many more years, the souls of the lost Air Nomads would haunt the Temples as the Summer Solstice drew near. Always, they cried for help. But none was given.
When Aang was older and wiser, he returned to the Temple and put them to rest.
Now the Temples are quiet.
Their souls were at peace. But Aang could never forget the horrors that he had seen, the terror that could drive a monk to take a life, or the rage that could snuff out lives as easily as a candle blowing in the wind.
But he was never able to forgive himself, and he never used the Avatar State again.
LES: What I think happened to Aang:
Partial Possession: When a Spirit or Demon has partial control over the victim. May only experience slight changes in behavior or horrific nightmares and sleep disruption.
LES: Opening oneself up to the spiritual is a key step to getting possessed, so, in order to be morbid, I decided to make Aang be partial possessed by a spirit. This was shown by his change in behavior and the horrible nightmare that sent him on a rampage. Well, that's enough morbidity for me, for now. I hope you enjoyed it!